Published March 18, 2009
Reprinted in full by the gracious permission of the author.
There’s a segment of our society which would suggest homosexuals are my enemy; this same segment tells homosexuals I do not believe in their cause. These are individuals who believe other people should be prevented from exercising the same rights they themselves enjoy – even if these other people pay their taxes, contribute to society, and obey the laws of the land.
A bill recently introduced into the Maine legislature would allow residents to marry someone of the same sex, presumably if they are both consenting adults. Now those supporting and opposing the measure are each marshalling their forces for battle in the months ahead – the battle for your heart, your mind and your vote. Both sides will claim to speak for the majority, but in the end you will most likely have the opportunity to speak for yourself.
I have nothing to gain from this proposal. I am euphorically heterosexual, married to a partner who is quite literally the woman of my dreams. We have three strong sons and a little girl with the twinkling face of an angel, who will celebrate her first birthday this very weekend.
Our life is pretty good now, although we’re struggling through the economy like most people. If this gay marriage bill is defeated, our life will probably remain unchanged.
If the bill passes, our life will probably remain unchanged – despite what some might suggest. So truth be told, none of this is any of our business.
Except for this:
If we stand by while friends and neighbors are denied a basic human right, I don’t know how we would be any different from good German citizens who looked the other way while Nazi thugs persecuted those who didn’t fit the ideal of a "master race." We would be no less ignoble than those who stood by while black citizens were denied the dignity allotted to their white neighbors, or those who remained silent while individuals suspected of supporting a Communist ideology were deprived of their livelihoods.
Is it unfair to compare the prohibition of gay marriage to the destruction of six million Jews? Maybe. But see, I can’t really say for sure because I’ve never been forbidden to marry the person of my choosing. In fact, as a straight, white, middle-class Anglo-American Protestant male I’ve NEVER been made to feel I was one iota less than everyone else around me. But you know what? I’m pretty sure it sucks.
I don’t imagine it’s encouraging when people try to portray you as some sort of subspecies which shouldn’t be allowed to marry, adopt, teach children or serve in uniform. I can confirm, however, how maddening it is to hear these critics attempt a position of superiority over people who surpass them in compassion, articulation, generosity and intelligence.
Because I am a family man, these opponents will try to impale a wedge between me and the gay community. They will try to convince me that two women marrying each other will somehow destroy or undermine what my wife and I have built. I value the institution of the family above all else, and will defend it with word, pen, fist or stone. So what I say now I don’t say lightly – if my household cannot withstand the legal marriage of two people belonging to the same sex, it deserves to crumble.
Fortunately, our foundation is much too strong for that. Suggesting that the American family unit will disintegrate upon the legalization of gay marriage is disingenuous fear-mongering manufactured for the ignorant and the weak. It is a crock. And it could succeed.
Opponents will say gay couples shouldn’t marry because God does not want them to. Although our laws prohibit the imposition of one’s religious beliefs over others, they will use the arguments of their church to try to strike down the efforts of those who do not share those beliefs. Never mind that clergy members in Maine have formed a group in support of the bill (the Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry) and are already campaigning for support among the state’s lawmakers. Or that clergymen like my father, a retired United Methodist minister, would happily preside over gay weddings.
Never mind that professing to know for a certainty the will of God is the ultimate arrogance.
Opponents will say the Founding Fathers provided no allowance for marriage of citizens of the same sex and therefore its prohibition is not a violation of civil rights. But the Declaration of Independence, the most celebrated document of our short history, insists that "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." No one among us today has the moral authority to deny a fellow citizen of these rights.
Again, to assume otherwise is a supreme arrogance.
The bill was introduced by state Sen. Dennis Damon of Trenton, but one of the co-sponsors is Sen. Peter Bowman, who represents southern York County. Bowman is a retired Navy captain and former Portsmouth Naval Shipyard commander. I can tell you for a fact that the U.S. military is not historically encouraging of the homosexual lifestyle, but Bowman has been quoted as saying support of gay marriage is "the only fair thing to do."
Bowman told this newspaper he believes homosexuality is "hard-wired" into certain people and our society needs to honor that. I lack the scientific background to assert whether the gay lifestyle is a matter of personal choice or genetic construction, and I don’t really care. The actions of consenting adults who do not seek to harm others in any way should be of no concern to anyone else.
During the November election, gay rights proponents gathered signatures from voters approving same-sex marriage. They hoped for 10,000 names and wound up with 33,000. Now there are those who say even if the bill passes in the legislature the matter could be put to a referendum in November.
If that happens, all of us living in Maine can make our voices heard loud and strong, and we can make it clear that we will not stand for discrimination against fellow Americans in the 21st century.According to Seacostonline, D. Allan Kerr is a struggling novelist and former newspaper reporter who now spends his days wrestling with lobsters. They need to add "A Noble Man" to this bio......